Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Summing Up a Fantastic Year!

A soft clicking fills my ears as the clock's hands note the seconds passing by. My palms sweat as I stare at the bright screen on my desk. The cursor blinks in time with the clicking and nausea sweeps over me.
How on earth will I ever sum up 2009?

Visions of sandy beaches, ancient stone Temples, diving headfirst into crystalline cool water of a beautiful Cenote & impromptu Jimmy Buffet concerts in Cozumel;


The dark sand of the desert and cacti of Arizona, the laughter at Shannon Hale's witty introductions, the blur as I shake hands and talk writing with Stephenie Meyer, Brandon Mull, Jon S. Lewis, Janette Rallison, Chris Gall, PJ Haarsma, Laini Taylor, Shannon Hale, Dean Lorey & James Owen, the chills as I stand on stage with Stephenie Meyer and take home a precious prize;


The beauty captured in one of my favorite cities: D.C., running through a spy mission with my husband and laughing as I almost fall UP the stairs, understanding that certain places of historic value will always take my breath away, cruising the Potomac, meeting Chef Duff from Ace of Cakes;


The comfortable & familiar Pensacola Beach with its emerald water, white sandy beaches & moments with new family;


Days spent lounging in the sand or on the edge of a pool & devouring some amazing books;


Houston's flare for exemplifying why everything's bigger in Texas & a weekend with a bird trying to climb my skirt and one on Marcus' head;


Birthday celebrations with my favorite sister;


Summer concerts with Eric & Mindy - if it is within a quick driving distance then we were there!;


Summer fun at my parents pool, watermelon, lemonade, fried fish and celebrating the patriotism of the Fourth of July;


Panama City girls weekend to the Spa with my two most favorite girlfriends: my sister Nina & my mom, ALL day spa treatments - watching my mother discover the miracle that IS ALL DAY SPA TREATMENTS lol, the divine sensation of recognizing precious moments spent together;


Celebrating 10 years after graduating high school with my 30 classmates and realizing we are all still just as close as before, understanding the grueling planning it takes to set up a reunion but also acknowledging how much I love to be in control ;


Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Tinkerbell, & Stitch surround me with hugs, seeing my husband labeled as THAT GUY by my favorite Monster: Mike Wazowski, I marvel at sharing all my favorite things that are Disney with my nieces & nephews at my old Orlando stomping grounds;


Sitting down to dinner in a Catholic church that is now a brewery in the eclectic city of Pittsburgh while chuckling at a friend who decides to try his hand at a round of stiff Irish Stout and staring wide eyed at the stained glass windows that now sit above beer tanks;


Winning a blog contest by Janette Rallison that introduces me to some of the most wonderful people I could ever know;


NaNoWriMo and the nerves that accompany finally committing to one's dreams;


Hosting my first blog contest;


Being blessed by fellow writers/bloggers with their wonderful awards and smiling as I in turn get the joy of passing awards along;


Deciding that writing should no longer be a goal that I push away, but one that I embrace with all my heart;


Learning what YouTube & Blog Wars are;


Marveling at being the subject of not one, but TWO Vlog entries on two awesome blogs! (Frankie & the Story Siren);


Weekend football games as the Crimson played a perfect season from opening in Atlanta to closing in Atlanta;


Learning to Tweet;


Discovering yet again, every day how blessed I am to have such an amazing husband, family, friends & dog (Peanut Butter Barr ;o) );


Thanksgiving shared with friends from St. Louis and the cutest curly haired little girl;


Loving the fact that my mother wanted an iPod for Christmas!;


Christmas with all its sparkle never disappoints;


Lists of resolutions for what only promises to be a sensational year...


All these things. All these wonderful moments in my life are more than I could ever dream of yet I still dream. I still have my sights set on goals, I still have my hopes pinned to letters on a keyboard, I still embrace all that the journey encompasses.


I live for these moments. I am stronger for the obstacles that fell in between each thing listed above as well as for meeting these amazing things with open heart & smiling face. Opportunities are everywhere and for years I just watched as they slipped by.


2009 reminded me to embrace life.


Welcome 2010 and all that you have to offer - may I make you proud.

Monday, December 28, 2009

In Between the Holidays & a Special Upcoming Birthday Week!

How is everyone? Here we are in between holidays. This is always an interesting time for us. Our families are in South Alabama and we both work....sooooo... that means that we venture down for Christmas, come back to work then venture back down for New Year's. Yep we head back south this coming up weekend. My sister & her kids will be down to share Christmas with us and well, we have to drop off our dog at my parents after New Year's... Why? you ask....wellllllllll.......

WE ARE GOING TO CALIFORNIA!!!

Yep.
Why, you ask again? Well it just so happens our beloved Crimson Tide is playing for the BCS National Championship. Yes we are those kinds of fans. You know the ones that will travel just about anywhere to see their collegiate team play. Yeah. The University is the reason we ended up in Ttown to begin with. We were both raised to be diehards and our parents did a good job.

Now, some of you may remember that Birthday Week (http://princesscourtneysbarr.blogspot.com/2009/12/2009-birthday-week-husband.html) is celebrated in my house. Guess what my birthday is January 7 - the day the Tide plays. Meaning my birthday week will be spent in Los Angeles... oh the things I could demand...*grinsmischievously*

So far I have a very eventful week planned. I was blessed to have a client give me tickets to....
THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS
.....with Red Carpet Access.....
YES you read that right. I am freaking out right now, people! I just cannot believe how excited I am. Then at the end of the week we are going to DISNEYLAND! OMG! I just am overwhelmed... This will be an epic CourtneyPalooza Birthday Week! I am just jumping for joy & fit to be tied! YIPPEE!!
I always think about celebrities that I would love to meet. I watched Julie & Julia this weekend and it got me thinking again. So if I could meet & talk with any celebrity living or dead it would be (forgive me for not being too deep on these choices) Female - Grace Kelly she was so well, graceful. She also had a way of handling everything with aplomb and a charisma that is unmatched-plus she was a princess. Male - Hugh Grant - the guy just makes me laugh and I love his accent.
Okay so since this was a totally random post I have a totally random question for all of you: If you could have a meet & greet with any celebrity (living or dead) who would it be (name one male & one female)?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yep... I got Tagged....


Frankie did you realize that there are 26 QUESTIONS? 26?! Yes the double punctuation is for my curiosity at why they stop at the number 26 rather than the stereotypical 25 and also for my shock as I have to answer them all.

Well some of you know me as just the Southern Princess, Royalty of the Blogosphere ;o), but now you just might get a glimpse into Courtney Barr, the Southern Princess, Royalty of the Blogosphere, Crazy Writer-Girl... Here goes -

QUESTIONS:

1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have? Currently working on a manuscript. Hmmm... I was in third grade when I wrote the story The Wind Maiden and I still have it (I had learned cursive the year before - lets just say it can get confusing in some points); but I also loved rhyming at a young age and I have some poems I wrote for my parents when I was REALLY young just learning to write/rhyme/singsong. The Wind Maiden though is a treasure to me. I was reading Shakespeare at a very young age and due to this The Wind Maiden has a tragic ending. It still baffles me that I wrote it. I was in a wheelbarrow out back (yes sitting in the wheelbarrow) it was Fall and I was sketching. Then for some reason I began to daydream and the Wind Maiden was born.

2) Write poetry? Yes. Poetry is actually what I began doing first. I love to sing and rhyming/rhythm was big for me. It was also some of my first published work. I won a few awards throughout school. I also from the 5th Grade to 12th Grade wrote all the Senior Class poems. (I went to a small school that housed K-12) Even my own Senior Class Poem

3) Angsty poetry? sometimes. The first poem I won a contest with and had published was called The Ghost in the Tides and it is a bit angsty. For a 12 year old it is probably pretty angsty.

4) Favorite genre of writing? all of them!!! I really and truly read everything, therefore I write all kinds of stories. I prefer YA but I like all the categories of YA.

5) Most annoying character you've ever created? This one made me smile. Once I wrote a short story for college with a girl named Betsy. Well, Betsy was the girl who never let you finish a sentence without jumping in. Even in those moments where you might be sharing a special moment with someone.Yeah... Betsy really pissed me off.

6) Best plot you've ever created? Welll.... I am going to say my current WIP. I LOVE IT and I actually think it is my best.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created? ahhhh... if I told you I would have to kill you. (i.e. it is in the current manuscript...ooohhh its good too!!)

8) How often do you get writer's block? I really don't get writer's block. If I fall out of love with a story then I just let it hang for a while-maybe I come back or maybe it gets saved in my "Might've Been" file

9) Write fan fiction? never... but I will admit to reading some...

10) Do you type or write by hand? Both. I love the 'written' word. There is something about pen to paper. Granted I type more than I write, but when I travel (which I do a good bit for work) then I tend to work on my storylines in pen/pencil.

11) Do you save everything you write? Yep. Did you see Question 8? That "Might've Been" file is pretty stout!

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it? Again, question 8 answers this one. But I will say that if I go back to a story normally it means my characters just needed to reassess and really, did I ever really leave them?

13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written? My current WIP. Behind that...well, there is one that really sticks out in my mind. Faeries, a duchess, death, choices....it ended with the MC losing everything. There was a lesson to be learned and a heart that would never heal. Ahhh... tragic.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written? ooohhhh...I don't know. My family is uber supportive while also being critical. hmmmm. My mother always loved my first story ever written but then she loves everything I write - I LOVE YOU MOM!! My sister, she just wants me to quit sharing only snippets! My hubby - he loves my current but behind it he LOVES a story I wrote about a boy caught in two worlds at once yet only he could see the differences. Very OUTTHERE!

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama? I am a girl, right? lol Yes I have written tons of romance and tons of angsty drama... oh you mean stories not my journals ;o) Seriously. Both have found their way into my stories one time or another.

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters? oooh. I love my own worlds, but outside of that the South of course. I adore the part of the country I live in and believe it to hold a magic all its own.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now? 1. For probably the first time ever. I tend to have at least 3 different things. VERY DIFFERENT

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?Yes. I won awards all through Jr. High, High School, a few in college and well, scroll down the sidebar - I have been blessed by some of the best writer's out there. Those awards mean so much to me! More than the others. They are from people who would not know me on the street, they only know me through my words on a screen. How amazing, awesome, and wonderful is that? Thank you all.

19) What are your five favorite words? this one could be fun: Wife, Princess, do nothing today. ;o) Okay - 5 faves: idiosyncrasies (because I have many), insolent (it just screams badness), wondrous (for the way it feels when you say it), Silly (well because it is silly), Ruggiero (okay this is a name, but I love it! It means Famous Warrior in Celtic)

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself? My current main character.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters? Honestly - everywhere! No one singular fountain of characters

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams? YES! I am one of those very vivid-continuous-can-go-back-to-sleep-and-its-the-same-dream-people!

23) Do you favor happy endings? I love to watch a movie with happy endings do like reading them, but sometimes I find myself writing a not-so-happy ending...yikes

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?I try not to be until I am finished.
25) Does music help you write?OMG! YES!!! I have to have music. I always have some sort of music on in the house and typically it influences scenes pretty well. The worst is when you hear a song for the first time and it is like a punch to the gut. My characters see their story, see their scene and in those painful ones I lose it. I cry for fictional characters and their dumb decisions or I laugh at how fun it would be to see & hear that character belt out the lyrics to a song in a specific scene...so yeah. Music is important to me.
26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.
"Let darkness encase me."

So I am supposed to tag people:
ahem, here goes - again you should already be following these blogs - they are definitely worth reading with a cup of hot cocoa & good music in the background!

Karen Amanda Hooper of The Kindrily (http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com/)
Carol of Carol's Prints (http://carol-in-print.blogspot.com/)
Natalie Bahm (http://nataliebahm.blogspot.com/)
MaryBeth of Desperately Searching for my Inner Mary Poppins (http://mbsmith090801.blogspot.com/)

Whew... have fun guys! ;o) I hope to post tomorrow night, but just in case the fam gets crazy & I don't get to:


HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Blogfest Kissing Day!

I promise promise that my TAGGED entry will be posted but I could not pass up a good Kissing Day! I mean come on... Kisses! The X's and O's of love letters! These cosmic connections that we have when we are in love or disgust can be dissected in a kiss. Sherrinda over at A Writer Wannabe came up with this amazing concept for all of us writers. Today December 21st is the OFFICIAL KISSING DAY BLOGFEST!
I offer you two kissing scenes.

One of my favorites from a book: LJ SMITH "DARK VISIONS: THE PASSION" (it is kind of an almost/complete/perfect who knows kiss... if you have not read this trilogy you should. I loved it years ago revisited it again recently and still enjoy the tumultous relationship of Kaitlyn & Gabriel)

He'd given her everything that was best in him, everything he was. She wanted to give him the same back again.

"I don't know how you can love me." The words came softly, as if he were thinking them to himself. "You've seen what I am"

"That's why I do love you," Kaitlyn told him. "I hope you'll still love me when you see what I am."

"I know what you are, Kait. Everything beautiful and brave and gallant and...." He stopped as if his throat had closed. "Everything that makes me want to be better for you. That makes me sorry I'm such a stupid mess..."

"You looked like a knigh with the shard" Kaitlyn said, moving toward him.

"Really? He laughed shakily.

"My knight. And I never said Thank You."

She was almost touching him now. Looking up into his eyes. What she could feel in him was something she'd only felt before when she gave him her life energy. Childlike, marveling joy. Trust and vulnerability. And such love....

Then she was in his arms and they weren't separate beings any longer. Their minds were together, sharing thoughts, sharing a happiness beyond thought. Sharing everything.

She never even knew whether he kissed her.

I LOVE that book! Wonderful!!!
Scene 2: My favorite from my WIP-First Draft (so far ;o) )
Meet Analeigh & Damien from my WIP (tentatively named) Sacred:

The soggy ground cushioned my body as he bent over me. His weight pressed against my side. He paid no attention to the dark night and all its tragedy. The wind howled around us as the rain fell against his back.

My breathing quickened as his face moved closer to mine. My eyes followed cool drops of rain as they slid down the coal black hair clinging to his forehead to caress his cheek. I lifted my hand to follow their trail and smiled as he reacted to my touch.

His emerald eyes deepened as he stared down at me. I knew that if I wanted to I could discover his exact thoughts but as usual his eyes held the answers I would seek. A warm sensation slithered along my body.

"You are all wet." I whispered.

His answering grin had me sucking in the cool air as I waited for him to speak; our faces only inches apart. Water pooled at my sides and in the distance I heard the others. Their voices seemed worlds away. It was as though we were the only two people for miles.

My mind raced with what this would mean. Fear gripped me but curiosity was winning out.

On one hand I wanted desperately to feel his lips against mine but on the other...it would change everything. I could not ask him to make this sacrifice.

Before I could speak his lips brushed the tip of my nose. Startled I focused again. He chuckled softly. "I've learned to never let you know my approach." The double meaning was all too clear and my instinct to defend myself came swiftly.

"You arrogant -"

His lips crushed mine in a searing kiss. The hunger I felt in him was like lighting a match to my own hidden desires. My hand moved to the back of his head, my fingers wrapped around the curls at the base of his neck and I responded to his kiss with a heat that burned from head to toe.

My lips, my fingers, my arms, my legs, my heart became alive with a feeling unlike anything I had ever known. No longer did the rain seem to caress. It was as though the raindrops merely evaporated when they touched our skin. I no longer felt the chill or the pain from battle. The only thing that mattered in this moment was Damien and the love I could no longer ignore.

Tears slipped down my cheeks as reality set in. I love Damien.

My heart began to break as the kiss continued.

It would be our first and final kiss. He could never know the truth.

I savored the feel of his lips, the rush of his hands along my sides, and the man that I would forever love for one more second.

I placed my hands against his chest and pushed him away.
This would be our last fight and I needed to make it a good one.

HAPPY BLOGFEST KISSING DAY!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Well, this holiday season seems to be falling around me like a blizzard. At first Thanksgiving was that early not really sticking to the ground snowfall but the past week has been a blanket of holiday activities! Shopping has kept me busy as well as Christmas parties and some wonderful evenings out.

Today though was about finishing my shopping list. As I ended up at home this evening I was terrified to look at the list & see if I had even put a good dent into what seems to be a constantly growing list... the verdict: ONLY TWO THINGS LEFT!!! HAPPY DANCE AROUND THE LIVING ROOM!

I realize that I am behind on a few things....

AWARDS
I have to say that again, I truly am grateful and surprised at receiving these awards! I mean, thank you so much! Honestly every time I see someone tell me they honored me with something I smile and feel so touched to have been thought of!

From Shannon O'Donnell of Book Dreaming (http://shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com/) & Courtney Reese of well, Courtney Reese (http://courtneyreese86.blogspot.com/) (her blog is her name-and what a marvelous first name she has!!) You both are so sweet & I love to visit your blogs!
The Superior Scribbler Award

Rules: Pass it on to 5 deserving blogs!

Lisa & Laura @ Lisa and Laura Write http://tiny.cc/6TYRm
Sara @SeeSaraWrite http://tiny.cc/zQAFm
Kate @ The NeverEnding Shelf: http://tiny.cc/sSnU3
JuJu of Tales of Whimsy (http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/)
Simon C. Larter @ Constant Revision (http://constantrevisions.blogspot.com/)

Second: The One Lovely Blog Award
From Liz @ Cleverly Inked ( http://cleverlyinked.blogspot.com/) Thank you so much Liz!!!

Rules: Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

15!!! OKAY HERE THEY ARE (random order of course):

Briana of The Book Pixie (http://thebookpixie.blogspot.com/)
Marybeth of Desperately Searching for My Inner Mary Poppins ( http://mbsmith090801.blogspot.com/)
The Compulsive Reader (http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/)
Anna of Book Nerds (http://booknerds.net/)
Kate @ The Neverending Shelf (http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/)
Lisa & Laura @ Lisa and Laura Write (http://lisa-laura.blogspot.com/)
Cindy @ Princess Bookie (http://www.princessbookie.com/)
Casey @ A Passion for Books (http://casey62588.blogspot.com/)
Carol @ Carol's Prints (http://carol-in-print.blogspot.com/)
Sarah @ Sarah with A Chance (http://sarahwithachance.blogspot.com/)
Karen Amanda Hooper @ Author of the Kindrily (http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com/)
Mariah @ Constantly Risking Absurdity (http://mariahirvin.blogspot.com/)
Sara @ SeeSaraWrite (http://seesarawrite.blogspot.com/)
Whew... 15. blogs. whew.
Oh and if any of the above listed weren't already on your blogroll...well I hate to pull rank but *clears throat* By Royal Command Visit These Blogs As Often As You Can! They Are Amazing!
Okay so now I must leave and continue to work on the answers to a certain set of questions sent over by a certain fellow writer *cough*Frankie*cough*....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!

Clark: We're kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.
Audrey: We're not coming all the way out here just to get one of those stupid ties with Santa Clauses on it are we?
Clark: No, I have one of those at home
Ahhh National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, my husbands favorite!
Well no I am not handing out overly large Christmas trees or Santa ties - there are presents, err Prizes! I mean I did have a contest the other day and there were winners.
Yes, winnerS - with an S.


So for being the first to correctly answer all the questions is....


SHANNON O'DONNELL of BOOK DREAMING (http://shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com/)


*AHHHH THE CROWD GOES WILD** wait we are writers... so the crowd intently observes the winner, wondering if she will later be fodder for character development**


I informed Le Magnadillo of this and he immediately informed his cousin The Holiday Armadillo and he was thrilled! Though he was sad that only one person could win.


"WAIT!"He said.
"I am the Holiday Armadillo, Santa's representative for ALL the Southern States & MEXICO!!! We should not leave the other entrants out!" he proclaimed.

He stopped and thought for a minute. "Um, uh, how many, um, entrants were there?" He asked quietly.
Le Magnadillo informed him there were eight.
"EIGHT!? Only eight were brave enough to attempt to answer the questions! Those eight must be exceptional people! They all MUST be on the Nice List this Christmas!"

He paused for a moment then surprised us all:

"THEY ALL MUST WIN A PRIZE!!"

"All of 'zem?" Le Magnadillo said in disbelief.

"Yes." he confirmed

So the Holiday Armadillo has spoken! All of my entrants win a prize. Shannon O' you get first choice of the items that were offered.

I know, I know I only showcased 5 items. No worry, the 7 remaining entrants will receive something special too! So email me your shipping information & be glad we southerners have such a sweet Santa representative! Will the following people please stand up & send me your info:

RK Charron of Books (http://rkcharron.blogspot.com/)
Sara McClung of Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler (http://babblingflow.blogspot.com/)
Shannon Messenger of Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe (http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com )
Donnas of Donna's Blog Home (http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/)
Karen Amanda Hooper Author of the Kindrily (http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com/)

Oh & seriously these are awesome bloggers so check them out whenever you get the chance!
*Please do let me know if you already have one of the books/DVD set that I offered so that it can go to someone else.

Email me clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com
Please contact me by Friday, December 18 so I can get everything shipped out this weekend!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silver Orbs of Light....

Soft silver lights blink in the distance as I walk along the road. At first they seem miles away but as I move forward distance becomes irrelevant. The blurry orbs begin to take shape. They bend, they sharpen, they curve, they engulf my senses. My eyes grow strained yet the glow, the silver glow, awards me by highlighting the path at my feet. Other colors break through my vision. On my left I find shades of red, green, and gold. On my right the soft pastel hues of spring float along the wind. The colors are at once muted yet bright. They glisten against shaded shapes of trees and buildings.

My breath releases quick puffs of frigid air while my feet move along the frosted ground. A crunch fills my ears when the life of a pine cone ends by my heel. Sounds flicker in and out of my hearing. Dogs bark, car horns blare, music plays yet I continue forward. My arm brushes against a limb and for a moment I hesitate. As my speed decreases I discover that my path has shifted slightly. I look towards the lights again and find they are right there with me. They have not wavered. It is I who has adapted my footing. I focus again on their beauty.

I have faith that they will be what they are meant to be. It is that faith that surrounds me when the other colors become too bright, when the sounds encase my ears and cause me to stop. It is also that I know, that if for any moment I want to stop moving forward and take a break. A moment to stare at the frost covered ground, to swing from a limb, to chase the sounds or to just sit amongst the overwhelming and beautiful path.... I can.

This is my journey to take, my choice to discover all that I can do, all that I want to try and all that I need to accomplish. The silver lights are not some place I am trying to reach, they are merely a collection of focus points, of people, of moments, of obstacles, of creations. Each one unique, each one with its own direction, yet each one is meant just for me to discover and to live...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Le Magnadillo inspires a FRIENDS Contest! Enter to WIN!!!

Okay my new French family member posed an interesting question...

Now not everyone will understand where this question originates from but for those that do & are quick to comment prizes will be awarded!

So Le Magnadillo was in the kitchen talking to Party Parrot, and his new girlfriend Bride and my husband just happened to overhear them.

Le Magnadillo: "Oui! Oui! I do have a famous cousin!!! He is most famous during ze 'Olidays!!"

Party Parrot: "Who is he? Who is he? Who is he? Want a Drink? Ack! Want a Drink? Want a Drink?"

Bride: "Yes do tell darling. I would love to hear about him." (yes she says this sweetly and inches closer to Le Magnadillo)

Le Magnadillo: "Ahhh!! He is the famous.....the amazing.... the magnifique.... HOLIDAY ARMADILLO!!!"

*collective gasps fill my kitchen as my husband continues to eavesdrop*

Bride: "Oh my! I love him!"

Party Parrot: "Holiday Armadillo? Holiday Armadillo? Holiday Armadillo? Who is that?"

Le Magnadillo: "Ce qui! WHAT! You do not know!" He looked around trying to be sure he was not overheard.

*My husband stifles a gasp as he realizes that yes, our Le Magnadillo is related to one of our own favorite holiday icons! He continued to listen to be sure that it was one and the same.*

The Bride waited for Le Magnadillo to continue and the Party Parrot leaned in to learn more.

Le Magnadillo: "Ah...you see my feathery friend, he is most important for your...a Noel... um Christmas. The Holiday Armadillo is Santa's representative for All the Southern States & MEXICO!!!!"

*my husband then decided that he had heard enough and came quickly to tell me of the news*
-------------------------------------
Okay - so tonight I needed a break and seriously the above conversation came from my husband. Well it just so happens that the Holiday Armadillo arrived a few years back and ever since then we have enjoyed stories of Superman, wandering deserts and the Easter Bunny's funeral!
On the spur of the moment I decided that since this particular scenario is in reference to my favorite television show and since I have learned there are many, many, many FRIENDS lovers out here I decided to do a quick contest! Below are 10 questions all from that one episode the first person to get them all correct wins!


*UPDATE: 12-10-09 3 p.m. DEFINITELY WILL BE MULTIPLE WINNERS! The first person with all correct answers will win the book of his/her choice. Then the remaining comments will be placed in a random generator for a few more winners (1 more or 2 more or 3 more... Le Magnadillo will choose how many) Even if you don't know the answers - comment! You could still win!*

*you MUST be a Follower of my blog to win*

1. What character portrays our great Holiday Armadillo?
2. Who usually plays Santa Claus for Ben?
3. Why can't Santa & the Holiday Armadillo be in the same room for a long time?
4. Phoebe senses that 'who' will be uncomfortable with the fact that she might move out of her recently renovated apartment?
5. What is Rachel afraid of? (they freak her out)
6. What does Phoebe think she should teach Ben about this Christmas?
7. What restaurant does Chandler make reservations for?
8. What food item does he 'order' from the Maitre d' ?
9. What is the amount that the coins Chandler drops while trying to slip them to Gunther at Central Perk? (it is the coins that Joey then picks up)
10. What state does the Holiday Armadillo live in?

Get answering all you other Friends fanatics & those of you rushing to look up the answers :o)
What are you winning you ask?

Well again I aim to please so it is winner's choice!
Your options:

1. Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz
2. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
3. Virus on Orbis 1 by P J Haarsma *this is a signed copy*

4. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

5. Friends: Season 7 (4 disc DVD set)

Just answer the questions in the comments section!

Contest runs until Tuesday, December 15 @ 11:59 p.m. CST Open to US & Canada only!


*if NO one gets all questions correct, the commenter with the most correct questions wins 1st choice*

*Please note that any lines directly from the EPISODE: The one with the Holiday Armadillo are copyright NBC/WarnerBros Entertainment

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A French Armadillo & A Surprising "Follower" discovery...

After a long evening of Christmas shopping - no I am not finished yet! I came home to find my husband and dog on the couch watching television.

But then, beside the Christmas tree was a small package.

It appeared to be a simple mailer.
I picked it up and saw the return address: Mallis.

Yes! My heart began to pound with excitement as I tore into the yellow container.

There! Right there in my hands! It is him, it is le charme, Magnadillo stupéfiant!! (He's French)

I immediately begin to scold him for detouring on his journey. At first I am strong, speaking harshly, but then he begins to talk with the most adorable French accent. He uses words like amour, magnifique, doux, desole!

The next thing I know I am sitting on the couch he is in my lap and we are reading Wings by Aprilynne Pike (this book is what took him so long. He claims he stopped only for a minute to read a few chapters, but then he was swept away into the Faerie realm and could not put it down. - You should hear him when he says Faerie *sigh*)

My husband is not pleased with this new visitor on the first day of his Birthday Week. Seems I am catering to an armadillo while he is stuck getting his own water. (Well Le Magnadillo was tired...)

Anyway there is no one like Frankie (http://tiny.cc/MTbvi)!

Seriously, this armadillo is perfect! Isn't he adorable! Oh and here is the book he rode in on...
Not only does he fit in with the other kitchen residents (who am I kidding, he charmed my bride away from my bride & groom magnet and has the parrot on the Margaritaville scene mixing drinks...My husband even overheard the bride say something to the parrot about "he has the most magnetic personality!" *sigh - from the sweetness & the lameness of the joke* So a huge virtual hug to Frankie!!!

On a completely different topic... umm I happen to have another blog (Snippets of a Subconscious Mind http://tiny.cc/rDFHW ) I created it a long time ago before blogging was really a past time of mine. It was supposed to be a 'locked' blog. ONLY viewable to the creator. Um not so much. How surprised was I to see a Follower listed on that site. Yep. This past Monday 'Okie' discovered the old entries. Thankfully he/she enjoyed reading them. Normally I would have freaked out. Again, sharing my work is not common AT ALL for me. Those pages are exceptionally raw due to they were typed literally after a continuous dream plagued me and I needed to just get the thoughts out!

But as I sat and thought about a comment response to 'Okie' I realized I might want to use the site again. Those snippets were fun. I recently enjoyed writing a quick short story (it was not perfect, but it was quick, raw, & a great mind exercise while working on my novel's manuscript)

So I plan to put some things over on Snippets soon. It can be where I type when I need a break from writing my WIP but still feel the need to creatively write something other than just a blog entry.

I will be sure to link an entry in this site everytime I update in case you want to read it. So thank you Okie, for reminding me of something I had set aside.

Also, thank you Followers - you remind me to just step out here and share my thoughts, my dreams, my stories. You make it worth sharing. :o)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Birthday Week - The Husband

For my readers who don't know, my husband's birthday is in December. Now this year he plans to curl up into a fetal position, suck his thumb, and randomly scream words like "Why God?!! Why?!! We had a deal!! Let the others grow old! Not me!!"

Yes he has decided that on the 8th he will merely turn 29 and 365 days old. Yep and when he reaches 40 he will actually be turning 30. Yes Yes lunacy is one of the reasons I married him, keeps my days interesting.

Anyway... If you were not a follower last year or the year before you may not be familiar with a tradition of ours: Birthday Week. We feel that since our mothers carried us for 9 months enjoying the fun wonders of pregnancy (you can tell I don't have kids) we should get more than one day to celebrate. So we created Birthday Week. Yep 7 days of fun. Now in a relationship this can be tricky. You see the rules are as follows:

1. Birthday-ee can decide what day the week begins so long as somewhere in the seven days his/her actual birthday occurs.
2. During the 7 days, the Birthday-ee does not have to partake in any household chores. NONE.
3. During the 7 days, the Birthday-ee may choose any meal they would like to have. ANY Meal. The Non-Birthday-ee must then make, pick up or go with the Birthday-ee in order to insure they get what they want.
4. During the 7 days, gifts will be given each day. These gifts can range from the unexpected simplicity of doing something for the Birthday-ee that normally would not be done or it can be extravagant.
5. During the 7 days, the Birthday-ee has full control of the television channel selection.
6. During the 7 days, the Birthday-ee can do whatever they want. i.e. sit around, nap, eat, shop, whatever. (the only stipulation here of course is any activity that could damage the marriage - course if you damage the marriage you lose birthday week anyway, sooooo.....yeah)
7. During the 7 days, the Non-Birthday-ee cannot complain about having to do any of the chores, activities without help.

So that is what we do. You must remember that when it is your birthday all of this applies to you, so the last rule is very important. Because if you do complain or make the birthday week difficult the previous Birthday-ee has the right to reciprocate. *yikes*

December is a crazy month for Birthday week, but it also makes it fun. I get to make cookies for Christmas tins & for Marcus. I cook because I love too and he chooses his favorite things which always make me smile. They are typically recipes that my mother taught me and the fact that they are some of his favorites is a compliment to heritage not just product quality.

With the big 30 this year, I am trying to pull out all the stops for each day. We have had an interesting year so I will have to get creative on a few things, but overall starting on Friday 12-4-09 we begin this year's Birthday Week.

So all of this was explained, not just because I like to share with all of you, but because I need a little help. #4 talks of the daily gifts. I need some new creative gift ideas. Like, in the past I have done the love coupons (ladies give these an expiration date or fine print - trust me on this), bought some DVDs and I have done things like wash/clean his car, etc. I need some new ideas or inspiration; plus it is always fun to hear about the kind things we do for those we love! Okay, so let me know of some things your loved ones have done for you or maybe something you plan to do this holiday season.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Awards!! Awards!! I feel so loved...

NanoWriMo has kept me so in the dark lately, but I was pleasantly surprised as I read comments on my blog!

I don't even know how to thank you all enough! I did a happydance around the living room when I discovered a few blog awards the other day!

I mean really surprised & thankful!

The first is....
The Best Blog Award!!!

Sara ( http://babblingflow.blogspot.com/ )you are just the sweetest!

I love your blog and am honored that you felt I deserved this award. I love to see your Tweets & your Blog Updates! I cannot wait to see how the purchase of the 30 Day novel guidebook goes!

And now it's MY turn to pass it on!

The rules for The Best Blog Award are:
To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
Pass the award to other bloggers that you recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award

Tracy @ Lemons & Lemonade: http://tiny.cc/QHv2V
Shannon @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe: http://tiny.cc/5FNVz
Frankie @ Frankie Writes: http://tiny.cc/Oo5X1
Kate @ The NeverEnding Shelf: http://tiny.cc/sSnU3
Steph @ StephTheBookworm http://tiny.cc/lAT3J

The second one is:


the HONEST SCRAP award
This one cracks me up! I received it on the same day from two different people!

Thank you Frankie (Frankie Writes) & Steph (StephTheBookworm)! You both have such funny & entertaining blogs! I love to visit & am honored that you both visit the Kingdom!

Rules of the Honest Scrap Award: list ten honest thing about myself then pass it along to ten more bloggers

1.When I was in the third grade I wrote my first short story. After that I was hooked, everything me & my friends did became a story.

2. I love to entertain. No really, I love being the hostess "I'm always the hostess." :o)

3. I tend to relate just about everything in my life that occurs to a Friends episode (see #2) and it really does help with understanding things sometimes!

4. My new addiction is HULU.COM. I love watching old shows (*grinswhilethinkingofMAGNUMP.I.* sighs....)

5. One of the best gifts in the world is a hug from my nieces or nephews. They are all so adorable!

6. I had to take my driver's test 4 times. Yes 4. The woman was mean!

7. Cotton candy is the best flavor, sugary treat, yumminess that was ever discovered by my tastebuds.

8. I can still remember the deep scent of red clover all around me at my parents' house as a child and the cool cushion the clover provided on sunny days.

9. I made mudpies as a child and was always upset that we never served them for dessert.

10. The bottoms of my feet are like steel after 28 years of barefoot fun.

Okay My TEN recipients!
Tracy @ Lemons & Lemonade: http://tiny.cc/QHv2V
Shannon @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe: http://tiny.cc/5FNVz
Frankie @ Frankie Writes: http://tiny.cc/Oo5X1
Kate @ The NeverEnding Shelf: http://tiny.cc/sSnU3
Steph @ StephTheBookworm http://tiny.cc/lAT3J
Nina @ Watson6inGa http://tiny.cc/TI1Kv
Shannon @ Book Dreaming http://tiny.cc/E3xCL
Lisa & Laura @ Lisa and Laura Write http://tiny.cc/6TYRm
Sara @SeeSaraWrite http://tiny.cc/zQAFm

The third award (I know! 3!! Thank you all! I feel so blessed!)

is the ...

Thank you Shannon of (Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe: http://tiny.cc/5FNVz)
I would like to pass this one on to the following blogs!

The Princess Bookie (http://www.princessbookie.com/) come on, she's Royalty!
Tynga of Tynga's Urban Fantasy Reviews (http://tyngasreviews.blogspot.com/) great site! By the way she is having a Follower contest that is awesome right now!
JuJu of Tales of Whimsy (http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/) Great site for honest reviews!
Mandy of edge of seventeen! (http://eoseventeen.blogspot.com/) Check out her recent review of The Maze Runner!

There are just so many sites that I love to visit!!

Thank you all for your creativity. Each stop is so unique!

Now that it is the final day of NaNo I should be coming back to the land of the living, at least in larger spurts! lol

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful...

So here we are on the eve of Turkey Day! (sorry no ToFurkey, Frankie :o( ). I have had the weirdest last week and well, lets just say I have so many things to be thankful for.

This year is different. I am not in the Big C celebrating with my siblings or parents. I am in Ttown at my home with one of my best friends, Tracy, & her family (Mike & Isabel) hosting Thanksgiving. To be honest this was unorthodox at first for my mind to process. I mean, I am the family girl, I NEVER miss a holiday with my parents & siblings. This year though we opted to stay home. Not that there are any issues with the fam, on the contrary, we are in great spirits with our immediate families. We decided that Thanksgiving really is about being thankful. Tracy is family. She always has been. The opportunity to celebrate a holiday with her was something I did not think twice about.

Though my immediate family won't be crowded around my table, I will feel them in every recipe that I complete. My mother's dressing sits waiting in the fridge for tomorrow beneath a beautiful sweet potato casserole. I was up until midnight last night making a Whipping Cream Poundcake that my mother is known for. We plan to watch football, the Macy's parade & veg out. All the traditions I experienced growing up are built into my psyche. They travel through my hands as I add each egg to the cake batter. I feel them as I think about that Southern Cornbread Dressing. Yes my family is two hours away, but again in many ways they are right here.

I am thankful for that.

For Tracy, Mike & Isabel who traveled from St. Louis to Bama away from all their family for a vacation & chose us as their destination.
For my mother & father who taught me that blessings are never the items we receive but the love passed from giver to recipient.
For brothers & sisters that gather around the table to share memories of our youth.
For Marcus & his amazing acceptance of who I am.
For Peanut Butter (my dog) for his unquestioning love for me no matter how grumpy I might be. For my other sister: Stacie. A friend who has been there through so much that I wonder sometimes if we have ever really been apart even though distance reminds me we have.
For gifts intangible: my writing, my art, my perception.
For blogging: I am thankful for all my followers, for all my readers... you all make me want to check my blog constantly! ;o)
For this moment. This time to be on earth and type an entry. No matter how trite - time is precious & moments are fleeting.
For reminding me that family is always with me no matter where I am and that family is more than blood.
For the friends I have made on here & Twitter. Truly amazing people who I now cannot imagine my life without. Thank you.
For a manuscript I am really enjoying!
So now that my list is long and lengthy I leave you with this thought:
As each day rises to be met, may you meet it with an open mind and heart.
As the minutes pass may you remember the feeling, the passion, the love around you.
As the night falls around your shoulders may you recount the days' events with a smile.
As yours eyes close and dreams weave into your mind may you welcome the sweet release of sleep that comes from a day in a life worth lived.
As the night becomes the day may you welcome the new dawn with an optimistic mind, eyes ready to see the good and a heart that welcomes the new as it discovers the best of the past.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The NeverEnding Shelf's Thank You Contest!!

check out an awesome contest over at The Neverending Shelf!

So many things to win!!! Woohoo (if you don't follow her blog - you definitely need to!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Whew moments...

Whew.

One word.
One expression.
One sound made when spoken.

But a whole mess of meaning can come from that word.

I say it right now for many reasons. The past week has been one of the weirdest. I have a house full of company for the next week (it began Thursday). I also express it for the way my feet feel after cooking most of the day (with a trip to the grocery store as well).

Then it also explains the fact that sitting right now on my couch with my laptop on my knees I feel better. I say it while my chest rises and falls. The air slips between my lips and a smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. My fingers are typing on the keyboard and it feels wonderful. I am sitting here with 5 other people in the room, I can hear the Nebraska/Kansas State game on the giant television, chatter is filling the room, a dog is playing with two little girls in my dining room but my mind, my heart is here on the screen.

That 'whew' wipes out everything around me and allows me a bit of needed solitude. Yes, solitude. Whether I am clicking away at a few blogs or looking up a word on dictionary.com or working on my manuscript or reading another writer's wonderful WIP - It always makes me grin how when my fingers are moving across the silver keys my breathing relaxes, my mind opens and I find myself learning so much.

It can't last forever though. Other things must be done, of course, due to the fact that sometimes I have to close the lid, sleep or eat, or shop or whatever, it makes me appreciate my "whew" moments even more.

So in a few clicks I will be uploading this post but you should know that my 'whew' will last a bit longer - I have a book to write so the next hour is all about my fingers as they listen to my characters and lead them to their destiny.

Before I go, I would love to know what is your best 'whew' activity? What is it that you like to do for those few moments of chaotic solitude? Do you read a magazine, text, blog, read a book? What do you do when the day has knocked you out but you still want to DO something? Even when there are people around, what do you do?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Balancing the Internets & Manuscript Progress...

It was brought to my attention by someone wonderful & uber famous *cough*Frankie*cough* that I have been away from the Internets (Il Primo prefers the s) lately. Actually I have beenghosting the internets. You know - where you are hopping on quickly viewing your favorite sites then slipping away barely noticed. Though it would be more effective if I would quit leaving comments on blogs... but then how would I show my love for USC lessons (http://tiny.cc/pWgBJ ) or friends who receive famous shoutouts (http://tiny.cc/n2WIh) or new releases & contests ( http://tiny.cc/HIntN ) or anything else that I love so much!!!!

The reason for my ghosting is actually simple. My day job has been crazy lately & I realized it is almost December! IT IS NOVEMBER 18TH!!!!!! Can you hear me as I shriek those words? My hairbrush is embedded in my hair, my eyes are bloodshot and I am sitting at a computer typing about the date! THE DATE! November is over halfway gone. It is 37 days till Christmas for crying out loud!

It hit me two days ago when someone doing NaNoRevismo posted about how quickly November is slipping by. They were right. I immersed myself into my manuscript and proudly resurfaced this morning with many words in and pleased with the progress. My biggest issue is holding off on major revisions - no, holding off on any revisions - until I am done. It is hard. Little things jump out at me, but I would rather free flow write & then work back through the roughest draft possible.It is better than getting bogged down revising seven chapters. It is dangerous for me to get stuck in revisions. I would have beautiful first chapters then an incomplete or crazy rough remaining chapters or the scariest possibility - lose all interest in the story as a whole.

So my ghostly visits were merely so I could focus on my 'right now work' but it hit me as I read an entry (the one about a certain friend and her famous shout out) that cutting myself off from the internets is more harmful. The release of just enjoying chatter with other writers, discussing 6 foot tall adverb killing armadillos, vegan cookies, and everything else we Tweet/Blog/Text about allows a fresh look when I turn back to my work. My mind is better rested & I seem to find my groove better after taking a break. I just have to remember it is a BREAK, not a reason to let my work slip away from me. So I just have to find the right balance.

I also realized that Il Primo gives me actual nightmares. He appeared in one last night. Talked about how if I don't get my manuscript complete their won't be need to think about any revisions... he scares me, but -

Il Primo will just have to get over it when I minimize my work, grab a snack and let my mouse click away for small increments throughout the day.

I mean unless he has a major issue and comes inside the house therefore wreaking havoc on my computer, husband and dog... he wouldn't would he?

He would.

Let's just keep this between you & me.

If he thinks I am on the internets, I can just tell him that Frankie & Shannon said something about his shell being too small & that he smells....

then he will just terrorize them...

yeah, that'll work... hee hee

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles...

Welcome to
The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles!

I decided that since Sunday is a day I spend a great deal of time dedicated to my manuscript, I would start doing something called The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles... Every week, I will post a quick blurb about how things are going & maybe some links to a few things I have found interesting. There are so many wonderful things out in the Blogosphere, Twitterverse, Cyberworld that it can be overwhelming! Granted there are a million things I miss just because not enough hours in the day to visit them all or to even learn they exist! So here goes...

1.) Bama won yesterday 31 -3 against Mississippi State ROLL TIDE ROLL!

2.) A wonderful virtual friend of mine, Frankie, whose blog has been quoted/linked by Publisher's Weekly! GO FRANKIE! To read her account and see how amazing she is click here: http://tiny.cc/uB1Gs Oh & be ever so jealous as you read her account of the awesome author event she attended!

3.) Have you met Ninjadillo yet? You haven't? Well be prepared for a possible attack if you are an adverb lover like me! Head over to Shannon's Blog for his video debut! http://tiny.cc/kbDpA

4.) CONTESTS!!! Woohoo at the books to win:
a.)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stone! This book sounds awesome! Via the Reading Nook! enter to win here: http://tiny.cc/O8NSf
b.) ARC of FALLEN by Lauren Kate via Frankie's blog: http://tiny.cc/nQMIX

c.) Signed copy of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler over at Laura's Review http://tiny.cc/dLWs8

d.) TONS of SWAG & BOOKS over at Michelle Zink's site: http://tiny.cc/zNIs4

e.) Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams : http://tiny.cc/fcw63

5.) ALWAYS check RKCharron's blog - talk about keeping you up to date on book releases, contests, everything!! It is wonderful! Some great articles & tips too! (There is one she posted about Imagery & the Third Eye by Stephen King that is AWESOME) http://rkcharron.blogspot.com/

5.) A great article/reference on the need or not need of Literary Agents on Distraction 99 blog (Nova Ren Suma author of the awesome book Dani Noir) http://tiny.cc/F59mz Also just peruse her blog - she has some great honest entries about being a published author!

6.) A fun & good blog about all things Literary Management! Check out Dystel & Goderich's blog: http://dglm.blogspot.com/

Progress Report: My manuscript is going well, I cringe at when it comes time for revisions, but I am pleased with my direction so far. You should know that these characters are so much fun to hear! Granted many arguments in scenes have occurred, but overall I think they like where they are going.

I also want to thank so many other bloggers/followers out there that post comments on my blog. You all are so wonderful & supportive. I love hearing from all of you & cannot wait to meet everyone new that stops by!

Okay whew! The Kingdom is full of craziness & fun this week. The sites listed are just a hand full of the ones I visit. There are tons more, but these stood out the most as I thought about this week's entry. (By all means run through my blogroll on the left to find even more fun places to visit) So go on, click on some links, enter a few contests, read up on the publishing world, follow some Tweets & stop by the Kingdom anytime!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Right to Write: Veteran's Day

My right to write.
Funny play on words isn't it? This blog is a beautiful example of being blessed. I live in a country where we argue over healthcare, stand up for education, protest in favor of our beliefs and it is all because we are free. Sure you can argue that our government can sometimes oppress ideas or that we as a people judge each other like crazy; being human is hard to avoid in life.


No matter what my right to post my opinion, my right to wear Crimson Tide colors, my right to go or not to go to church, my right to choose my future children's school, my right to express my thoughts about fashion/art/literature/sports/entertainment, my right to love who I want, to dislike someone, my right to drive a car anywhere in this nation is my right.


Not a day goes by that somewhere in the hours I am awake or asleep is there not a symbol of freedom. The fact that I close my eyes at night and hear crickets rather than bombs reminds me of my freedom. When insomnia comes storming through the window we watch any channel on the television. In fact I can choose a channel that spouts liberal ideals or conservative views! Picture in Picture lets me see both at once (quite humorous by the way when they are on the same topic)


My husband works for Veteran's Affairs (financial sector) his main office sits within one of the hospitals. There are few weeks that go by without him mentioning a Vet that he talks to on lunch or when he is in the halls. He hears stories of families who have just left the men or women to the system. Visiting only when they have to or when the guilt becomes too much. These veterans watched friends die, held the heads of comrades on their knees and prayed to whatever God they needed to in order to find comfort. These Veterans hail from everywhere, not just the South. Some seem as normal as you and me while others are still replaying hellish nightmares from years ago. Not everyone is forgotten by their loved ones but it is difficult the number of veterans who are.


Then there are those that are my age. Twenty-eight years old and have seen darkness that makes fantasy literature look like See Spot Run. They volunteer to leave friends, family, homes, pets, secure stable jobs to crawl on their stomachs in the desert knowing that a trip wire could be hidden anywhere. They build schools, churches and businesses for countries that have the exact opposite of their own beliefs. They come home with new perspective of what the world is like. Yet the ones that I know will tell you of the fear & craziness, but then you will hear the hope. The stories of children who see that people come from a country that allows a woman to walk alone on a street, a country that lets you buy land and build something that you call your own, a country that recognizes a hero not just on a movie screen. It is then that a soldier understands why they do what they do.


Veteran's Day reminds me of why writing is important to me. It is a dream of mine, it is a passion of mine, it is a comfort, it is a way to share something I love, but most importantly it is a right that someone else paid a price for me to enjoy.


I have never been in battle,
I have never sat eating a picnic lunch while friends fought to kill on my back lawn,
I have never been on a ship that sailed with dreams of freedom from monarchy,
I have never stood on a beach ready with guns to attack an enemy,
I have never stood in line protesting a war of politics,
I have never sat in the silent desert waiting for the enemy to spring
BUT
I have seen the placards stating a capitol burned,
I have stood on a battleship that is now a museum in awe of its size & power,
I have studied paintings of soldiers defending a new land/new promise,
I have watched movies/documentaries/shows depicting epic battles,
I have read names on stone structures lost throughout time,
I have chosen what to wear each morning,
I have chosen what foods to eat,
I have bought whatever book I wanted,
I have decided what I want to do in life,
I have married who I love rather than who was chosen for me,
I have cried tears as a brother I love left for sandy deserts
I have cried tears of joy when my brother returned safely,
I have hugged friends returning from cold nights far across the ocean,
I have stood at the foot of the Lincoln Monument in awe of such greatness,
I have been to Arlington Cemetery & cried for people I never knew,
I have felt that unexpected pull of pride when I see the American flag waving,
I have sung the words to our National Anthem,
I have pledged my allegiance to the flag using all the original words,
I have read the Declaration of Independence,
I have found myself crying when I see a soldier return home to hugs in an airport,
I have learned that Freedom comes with a price and that those who pay it every day & those who died for it before this moment & will die from this moment on deserve my respect, my love, and my thanks.
I am proud to be an American.
Thank you Veteran's for all my haves & for all my have nevers because without you my life would not be possible. I do continue to love this country and everything it was built upon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patience: Scene changes & arguing with a character

It is Sunday everyone. We (Bama) beat LSU yesterday so my morning was blissful at wake up. Beautiful day, no clouds, nice breeze, leaves falling and November is gorgeous in the South. Perfect day, right?

Fast forward to late afternoon.

I had worked on my manuscript this morning, reading my current pages and tweaking a few scenes. Content with the progress and needing to take my husband lunch (he had to go into the office today) I decided to scoot by the mall. I do so, discover an adorable outfit within my budget, see hubbie for a moment then head back to the house quite happy with the outing.

After spending some quality time with iTunes I stop to listen to a new selection. You see this is my inherent problem and solution all balled up into one. Music is essential when I write. I love to listen to music that applies to the scenes I am working on. I tend to write visually whenever music plays. This can be wonderful and it can be confusing. A simple scene that is not meant to turn heated between characters might if the sound system is carrying the right/wrong tune. Thus leading to magic or deletion.

So here I am just listening to some music that reminds me of a scene I worked on this morning and then it happens. My character's voice rises above the song. It seems she thinks that scene just did not feel right, aggravating as it is, I think it over. At first I quickly dismiss the thought and find myself arguing with her in my head. Then I discover that it might need to be considered. She is right. Yep. I open the file, turn the song down a little to more background audio and find myself three hours later having completely rewritten the scene and having to piece a few chronological changes together.

I cursed, grumbled and typed. It is amazing how allowing the idea of a new layout affects the scene. Humor found its way into a tight situation and does so without being campy. I can almost feel the smugness of the character.

My style of writing is one that tries my patience but seems to teach me every time I let the story flow. There are many occasions where I resist the impulse to change something just because I am stubborn or because I feel I know better than the character. More often than not the end result is much better when I just relax, trust my characters and let my fingers walk.

So again, patience is a virtue. Don't we all know that one? I just wonder if the author of that line ever thought about patience being applied when an imaginary person you created is arguing with you...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

WHO WON? WHO WON??? Drumroll please....

Okay it is 10 minutes after Midnight on Friday, November 6, 2009. The air is crisp and cool in the southern town of Cottondale. I am sitting in my living room with my husband who is going to pull the entry from his BAMA hat. Seriously.

I was going to do random generator after assigning a number to each entrant, but then I decided o'l school selection would be more fun!
So after writing, snipping and folding your entries the sexy, blonde, hilariously funny, southern gentleman who married me is going to draw a name...


Here we are, the drumroll has begun, we need a name...

Fumbling with the paper...

Unfolding the many folds....

Looking at the name...

Oh good for you! Glad you are my first winner. Oh wait, did I not say who won, well, heavens to betsy! How silly of me!

CONGRATULATIONS: KATE!!!

You chose IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin!
email me your info at clsbarr@yahoo.com

I want to thank everyone for entering my very first contest!! Please note that I will be hosting another contest starting the end of next week that will be open to US & Canada...
I still have some doubles of certain books & who should get them.... hmmmmmmmmmmm... you will have to find out!! ;o)

Friday, November 6, 2009

RKCharron is giving away UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King

Just popping in to mention another great book event! RKCharron is giving away a copy of: UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King on the blogosphere! It is the first of hopefully even more fun & successful giveaways! Ahh the spirit of 1st contests this week has been wonderful!

@RKCharron My 1st Giveaway: UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King http://bit.ly/1xhnzq

So click on the link & enter to win!!! Hey even if you don't enter, wander around the blog - it is such a fun site to stop by! Add it to your blog roll, follow on twitter @RKCharron!

Just have fun & good luck...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Here There Be Dragons - Read online!

Just popping in to tell you about something really cool....

Read: HERE THERE BE DRAGONS by James Owen COMPLETELY ONLINE FREE!!!! Yep, you heard me! It is only for a limited time though!

Until Monday, November 9 you can read the complete book online! I LOVE this series. I had the pleasure of meeting James Owen back in April & I can tell you he is not only an amazing author but a genuinely nice person.

So go ahead, read a book, get interested in the series because the newest book in the series (Shadow Dragons) was just released & you have some catching up to do! ;o)

Click on the link to be taken to your online reading experience:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MY FIRST CONTEST!!!

Okay since NaNoWrimo began today I figure regular blog entries will be few & far between.
Well in the spirit of writing I wanted to have my first contest! *the crowd goes wild*
So if you would like to win here are you entry possibilities:
+1 comment on this blog
+1 Follow my blog
+2 TWEET about the contest (be sure to leave me a link or Twitter username)
+3 Blog about the contest! (be sure to leave a link to your blog)
So those are the rules... what do you win, you ask? Well, I am taking a cue from Shannon over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe ( http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/ )
YOU PICK!
Option#1: impossible by Nancy Werlin
Description: A young girl discovers that her bloodline is part of a curse that dates back centuries and worlds... she must complete the tasks so that true love can save her....
Okay this book is wonderful, weird, exciting, sad, heart wrenching and even funny. I read it in five hours sitting in a hotel room on a business trip. It is a National Book Award Finalist and for good reason.
Option #2: Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Description: Who doesn't know of the Romanovs? Czar family gunned down. The world believed one child escaped: the elusive mystery of Anastasia. Joy takes you on a magical ride as you explore a new explanation for the Romanov mystery. It is fantasy at its best & definitely explores the power of dreams! It is told in multiple POV and allows the reader to get to know various characters during their journeys. It might even make you google the story just to remind you of the history!
Be sure to leave which one you want when you comment! (open to US residents only - sorry :o( )
GOOD LUCK! *winner will be chosen at random on November 6*

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day of ghosts, goblins & witches!
Halloween is my favorite holiday....
I find that magic can happen on Halloween. Not just your typical wand yielding magic but there is something about the moon high in the sky, the stars glistening and the howl of the unknown echoing across the night. The air is invaded with mystery and light finds the ability to trick or tease the eyes. It is an evening of awareness.
Your senses gain strength and your mind opens to possibilities.
So as you wander the streets during this yearly night of frivolity keep in mind that beyond your sight, beyond your touch, beyond your understanding lies a world just waiting to share its adventures to those who will allow it...
Soft moonlight slips among the glades
The sound of fear disclosed
A shadow creeps along the path
The fear begins to grow
As midnight moves upon us
Such fun and mischief we seek
All Hallows Eve is here again
Beware the well worn creak
Darkness brings with it a mystery
Its terror and its fright
Enjoy the fun for one and all
On this bewitching night...
Happy Halloween.
(C) Courtney Barr

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh how the flames burn when you are put on the spot by an author you adore....

Okay on my lunch today I was flipping through a SELF magazine and reading the latest TWITTER updates... well a very sweet, wonderful author who I have found a great friend in put me on the burner. Her exact Tweet to me was:

@southrnprincess And when are YOU going to start your writing, ma'am? Or sharing it, at least?

Oh how she got me. I write. I write a lot in my spare time. I am constantly coming up with various plots that may or may not one day get complete. I currently have four stories that infiltrate my dreams, my musical choices, my drive to work, from work, my shower time and my down time.

They each are very, very different & would probably make you wonder about the person who can create such various characters. My husband would say "Okay, Courtney - MAN UP!" lol He has been on me for 13 years (we have been married for 3 but dated for 10) to write. He is by far one of my biggest fans and my most amazing supporter. Marcus knows the main one of the four manuscripts that is enveloping my every thought. Its characters scream the loudest and definitely want more attention.

Well, this author, *cough*Vivian*cough* called me out today. She is right. It is something I love doing and putting all my energy forward in order to get this dream done is what I should focus on. I am shortchanging myself by not trying as hard as I could. It may not ever make it where the entire world gets to see it, but if one person enjoys it then as a writer I will be accomplished.

So thank you Vivian, sometimes it takes a Tweet to get a Twit going.... ;o) (had to)

So if you call me and feel like I am ignoring you know that currently Ena, Grimly, Tara, Gage & Finley are taking up my current state of mind.... bear with me - they are a persistent group!

Reviews: Demon Princess by Michelle Rowen & The Maze Runner by James Dashner

What a weekend of reading!!!

I started off with The Maze Runner by James Dashner late Friday night/early Saturday a.m.
I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and was recommended Maze Runner by a friend who had actually not read it yet but heard it was a similar thrill ride.

To be honest the similarity is in the fact that it is about children who are being watched by what we may assume is either the world or individuals as they try to survive attacks by monsters and deadly elements. It is the outer shell of the plotline; this is where the similarity for me ended.

The main character, Thomas, is baffled by his memory loss, his arrival in this strange place and the idea that they are trapped there purposely. He immediately wants to ask a million questions, but being the new kid means keeping quiet, learning what you can then assessing your situation. He quickly discovers the Maze that surrounds the place he learns is the Glade. The Glade contains only boys, no girls. One boy a month for two years has appeared. He is the latest. At first he appears to be just like everyone else, but his appearance creates a chain of events that leads him and the reader through a true maze of questions, confusion, mystery, tragedy and discovery.

The Gladers who live in this new world are shocked when on Thomas' second day another kid arrives. This is unprecedented - two kids back to back. Then to the shocker of all shockers: it is a girl. First one in the Glade and rather than bringing a basket of cookies, she holds an ominous note along with bringing a feeling of familiarity that Thomas cannot place.

James Dashner allows Thomas' character to be one the reader will like but also will find wary of. He is a character that is so shrouded in mystery that with his million questions to the Gladers you have a million questions for him. You know that he cannot answer them because he does not know them himself, but you ask aloud as you read nonetheless.

I could not put it down. After the first few disorienting chapters I found myself on a whirlwind. Dashner definitely stands on his own with this one. It takes a wonderful look at how no matter our age survival can determine so much in our lives and the compassion we have can sometimes make survival be much more than black and white.

It is fast paced and a great start to what appears to be a series... yeah, be prepared for: END OF BOOK ONE. Those four words can haunt your dreams :o)

Sunday evening I read Demon Princess Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen.
Talk about going from one extreme to another in books this weekend. Demon Princess is now one of my favorite reads. Michelle has a great knack for simple humor in odd situations. The main character, Nikki, just turned sixteen. Her mother just got remarried and they just moved to Canada (miles away from her old town). Due to her mother being on her 4th husband, transition is typically the norm for Nikki. Though she is about to learn what real transition is.

Nikki finds herself best friends with the most popular girl in school, Melinda. Melinda is beautiful, wealthy, funny and truly desires to continue being Nikki's best friend. Melinda has set up Nikki with the most popular guy in school. Everything in Nikki's life so far sounds pretty good, especially considering she is the new girl.

Not so fast. For teens it is never perfect, but for Nikki it is forever complicated. A guy shows up tells her that the father she has never met is a Demon King and requests her presence in his world - the Shadowlands. Yeah, imagine that while you do your geometry homework. From here forward you get a lovely taste of teen aggrivation, parental superiority, young love, self discovery and some great action.

This fun, thrilling ride was easy to read, easy to love and easily a series that is going to slip into my favorite pile. I cannot wait for Spring 2010 when we get Reign Check. I just recently discovered Michelle's books (check out her adult novels as well - especially the Immortality Bites series) and have truly enjoyed every one I have picked up. She is also great to follow on Twitter & Facebook (@michellerowen ). Be sure to pick this one up!